January 24, 2024
Mayor Eric Adams: New York. New York City. Love it. Love it. Love it. You know, Rich and your team, HTC is always in the house.
So, I'm not sure if you were able to see the announcement. New York City, top of the world. We need to realize that. And even before I get started with my speech, Ingrid, can you stand, First Deputy Mayor Wright, Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor Maria Torres‑Springer, Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom, Deputy Mayor Almanzar, my chief of staff Camille Joseph.
These women. Let me tell you something. You know, you may cut the umbilical cord, but that fluid that carries you is something that's spiritual and lasts a lifetime. I don't just like them, I love them. And this speech is dedicated to you. Thank you so much.
My fellow New Yorkers, thank you, and thank you all for believing in New York City. Our city has always been about what is possible, a place where you can start a business, start a family, start a movement, make your mark. A place where you can just make it.
Fifty years ago, that happened right here in the Bronx when a new generation of New Yorkers created a new kind of music: hip‑hop. Now, a place once known for urban blight is famous for being the birthplace of the most transformative musical genre of all time and a thriving community that is home to nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers from all over the globe.
Here, at Hostos Community College, it is also a place to find your way forward with a world‑class education, just like our very own Deputy Mayor Almanzar, a proud Hostos graduate. Speaking of Hostos, I want to thank CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez and the president of Hostos, Dr. Daisy Cocco De Filippis for having us here today. Give it up for them.
I also want to thank all of our colleagues in government who work hard every day in Washington, D.C., and Albany to help us Get Stuff Done for New Yorkers: Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, House Minority Leader, my good friend, Hakeem Jeffries, who should be the majority leader in a few months.
Congressman Jerry Nadler and the entire New York City congressional delegation, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart‑Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. And I want to thank all our partners who serve in Congress, the State Senate, State Assembly and City Council, including so many who were able to join us today.
I want to thank my sister, and I'm going to tell her like mommy used to tell me: Speaker Adrienne Adams, I love you and there's nothing you can do about it. Love you, and there's nothing you can do about it.
Our mommies are looking down on us, sister. You know, who would have thought, two Baysiders from South Jamaica, Queens, would be in this position of running this city. We can't fail. We cannot fail, and we're going to succeed. We're going to navigate New York City out of the crises that we are facing.
And our other colleagues that are here: Bronx hip‑hop DA — I love to call her — Darcel Clark, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Queens Borough President Donavan Richards, Public Advocate Jumaane WIlliams, my good brother and pioneer, leader, congressional leader, State Representative Adriano Espaillat, New York State Attorney General, amazing attorney general, where's Letitia? Amazing Attorney General Letitia James. Keep doin' what you're doin'. Leading from the front! Leading from the front! State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, watch our money, make sure we get that money back here in the city.
And all of you who have joined us, we want to say thank you. I want to also thank our administration officials for being here today, some of them I just acknowledged, as well as our brothers and sisters from 32BJ, HTC and all of our partners in labor. You know, think about it. Think about it.
Think about it, folks. When we came into office two years ago — two years ago — we had a clear mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy and make this city more livable. Two years in, we are seeing real results. Crime is down, jobs are up and every day we are delivering for working‑class New Yorkers.
Just look at the numbers. We've taken over 14,000 illegal guns off our streets, driven down the number of shootings and homicides by double digits, gotten 4 million people back on our subways, and welcomed almost 62 million tourists back to our hotels, theaters and restaurants.
We have created 270,000 private‑sector jobs, worked with our brothers and sisters in labor to get them the pay and the benefits they deserve, and delivered long‑overdue raises for independent contractors, gig workers and deliveristas.
We unlocked billions for home repairs through the NYCHA Preservation Trust, drove down the cost of subsidized child care by almost 90 percent, increased public school enrollment, boosted test scores, and revolutionized how we are teaching kids to read. Good job, Chancellor Banks.
We protected women's health and freedom by expanding abortion access that has been denied in other states and extended individual liberty to those in the LGBTQ+ community with our landmark executive order to protect gender‑affirming care in New York City.
We built more parks, paths and recreation spaces, got garbage bags off our streets and into bins, and removed miles of unsightly scaffolding that has darkened our doors and blocked our views.
And we even allow hecklers inside my State of the City. What a great city we're in. What a great city we're in.
We got all of this done for New York City, and we did it while marshaling our entire city government to respond to the asylum seeker humanitarian crisis. This was a team effort, and how we did it? We stayed focused, no distractions and we grind. Stay focused, no distractions and grind. Stay focused, no distractions and grind. Stay focused, no distractions and grind.
And thanks to the hard work of this administration and millions of dedicated New Yorkers, the state of our city is strong, far stronger than it was two years ago.
I want to thank every hard‑working New Yorker out there for helping bring our city back from the brink. That includes members of our nonprofit sector, from stepping up during the pandemic, to sheltering our asylum seekers. Their work has supported and defined our city.
I also want to thank our city workforce for your dedication: our police officers, social workers, firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers, transit workers and healthcare heroes have given their all to keep our city moving in the right direction. Please stand up. Let's hear it for Team New York! I love it.
But let's be clear: this success was not guaranteed. It was not something that was automatic. We knew we had to work hard. When we came into office two years ago, our economy was in freefall. There was a focus that was so important: a global pandemic had decimated our businesses and emptied our streets. Crime was up, confidence was down.
During our first month in office, in one week alone we lost Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora. They were murdered. Multiple officers were victims of gun violence. And I remember sitting in that hospital where an 11‑month‑old baby was shot in the head, and talking to her mother. Her mother inspired me. In spite of that pain, she believed in the city. And I knew when I walked out of that hospital that day we had to do everything possible to make sure that we would make this city continue to be the safest big city in America. Commissioner Sewell and now Commissioner Caban, that's the mission we will live up to. It was hard not to give up hope after that week.
New Yorkers were rightfully concerned about their safety, their security and their families. Our first order of business was clear: get crime under control. Keep New Yorkers safe and get back to normal after so much trauma and trouble from the pandemic.
Our strategy is working. We have supported our law enforcement officers in every way possible, from improved training to higher pay and better benefits. We have surged police officers throughout our streets and our subways, and we are making progress on the fentanyl crisis, car theft, retail crimes and more.
Our city has gotten safer, but we need people to feel safe, too. New Yorkers should not have to worry about crime, disorder and their quality of life.
And they shouldn't have to worry about things like illegal smoke shops selling cannabis to their children. Legal cannabis remains the right choice for our city and our state, but New Yorkers are fed up with these illegal storefronts and their unlawful business practices.
To get them shut down once and for all, we need Albany's help. I want to thank Governor Hochul and all our elected partners who are fighting to give us the power to shut down these illegal smoke shops. Give us the proper authority, and we will get the job done. We can close these shops down.
New Yorkers must also be able to live, work and worship without fear. But at this moment, many of us are still worried about hate crimes and the rising tide of antisemitism and Islamophobia. Hate has no place here in New York, and our police officers are committed to protecting every community.
But I want to be clear: while we will always respect the right to peacefully protest, those who violate the law will be held accountable. We are committed to keeping the peace, in every sense of the word. That is why you elected me as your mayor, and what I am determined to deliver for you each and every day. We will be safe.
Public safety means public trust, too. Our police officers are always held to the highest possible standards. But when a civilian brings a complaint, we must act more swiftly to resolve the matter. Right now, some internal discipline cases in our police department can take as long as a year to resolve, if not more. That is far too long.
This year, the NYPD will further reform their internal case process to cut that time in half, setting stricter timelines so that cases do not languish for months and eliminating redundancies to make government more responsive to the needs of our citizens.
Public safety is also about safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and delivery workers. New Yorkers welcome the future of transit and new electronic technologies, but we cannot have mopeds speeding down our sidewalks and forcing people to jump out of the way.
We must also protect the drivers and delivery workers who show up for New Yorkers at all times of day and night in all kinds of weather. That is why we are in discussion with the City Council to create the Department of Sustainable Delivery, a first‑in‑the‑nation entity that will regulate new forms of delivery transit and ensure their safety.
We will combine work that is now spread over multiple agencies, establishing goals and guidelines on everything from traffic safety to corporate accountability. And while cutting down our city's carbon footprint, this department will also build on the work we have done to protect New Yorkers from the dangers of lithium‑ion batteries.
Our administration banned the sale of uncertified e‑vehicles and refurbished batteries, but with the Department of Sustainable Delivery, we will be able to do much more, including educating riders and enforcing safety standards for lithium‑ion batteries.
New Yorkers must know that their city is looking out for them because traffic safety is public safety. New Yorkers care about public safety first and foremost, because it is the foundation on which our prosperity is built. It is a simple formula: when crime goes down, jobs go up. When crime goes down, tourism goes up. When crime goes down, our quality of life goes up. And when all these things go up, there's no stopping New York City. Trust me.
So, crime down, jobs up. When I say "crime down" you say "jobs up." Crime down.
Audience: Jobs up.
Mayor Adams: Crime down.
Audience: Jobs up.
Mayor Adams: Finally, something 8.3 million New Yorkers can all agree on.
We now have the most private‑sector jobs in the history of the city. Great job, Deputy Mayor Maria Torres‑Springer. 4.1 million jobs. New York City has recovered all of the private‑sector jobs we lost during the pandemic more than a year ahead of projections. One in six New York City businesses has opened since the start of this administration.
Our city is determined to support our entrepreneurs, and with our record‑setting $75 million Small Business Opportunity Fund, we have been able to do just that. Great job, commissioner.
Chef Jae Lee is the owner of Nowon, a popular Korean American bar and restaurant in the East Village. When Chef Jae Lee wanted to open a new location in Brooklyn, regular banks wouldn't give him a fair shake.
Through the SBS Opportunity Fund, Chef Lee was able to get the small business loan he needed at an affordable interest rate, and now he is employing over 50 New Yorkers and serving up his legendary kimchi cheeseburgers in the East Village and Bushwick. Chef, I want to thank you for working so hard to create jobs and keep New York the greatest restaurant city in the world, and I will be having the vegan mushroom noodles when I stop by. Looking forward to it.
New York will remain the city where people come to make it. This is the destination for young people to start their careers, for immigrants to build a better life, to start a business and live the American dream. That dream is what draws so many to our shores and our city, and we are proud to uphold our legacy of welcoming the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The asylum humanitarian crisis may not be over, but New Yorkers can be proud that we have demonstrated leadership and compassion, when so many others showed only cowardice and cruelty. Hats off to you, Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom, for your leadership.
Over the past two years, we have helped more than 172,000 asylum seekers by providing food, medical care and shelter. Of those, we've helped almost 105,000. They took the next steps in their journeys and got on the pathway to self‑sufficiency. Thumbs up, chief of staff, for what you have done.
We have helped tens of thousands file applications to extend Temporary Protected Status, seek asylum and obtain work authorizations. We are proud, we have done our part, but we need others to do their part. The federal government must step up and step in. This is a national crisis that calls for a national solution so that our newest arrivals can contribute to our economy, like the generations of immigrants before them.
It is time for the federal government to deal with this federal crisis and make sure we can give them the opportunity. Let them work. Let them work.
The same harbor that has welcomed immigrants in the past will be a place of even more opportunity going forward. We are transforming the waterfronts and shorelines that first made New York the economic engine of this nation into the Harbor of the Future.
It begins here in the Bronx at Hunts Point Market. I know you're happy to hear that, Councilman Salamanca. The largest food distribution center in the world, which thanks to our investments will soon run entirely on renewable energy.
Next step is Kips Bay, where we are turning an entire New York City block into a state‑of‑the‑art destination for life sciences and health. Continuing our journey, the Brooklyn Navy Yard will provide new spaces for startups that will take us into the future of sustainability and green tech. Really exciting projects. And on Governors Island, the New York Climate Exchange will be home to our first‑in‑the‑nation center focused on climate research and job training.
With this administration, Staten Island is no longer the forgotten borough. The Harbor of the Future includes the North Shore of Staten Island, where we are building a vibrant mixed‑use waterfront community that will explore new kinds of urban design and create 7,500 jobs.
And today, we are excited to announce a new investment in the sixth project: $100 million for the Climate Innovation Hub at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. This hub will bring business development, incubation and research to a 4 million square foot campus, turning Sunset Park into a center for clean tech innovation and manufacturing.
Over the coming years, the Harbor of the Future will create 53,000 temporary and permanent jobs, generating $95 billion in economic impact, and establish New York City as the global destination for green technology, innovation and opportunity.
All of these efforts are part of our Green Economy Action Plan, which we will roll out in the weeks to come. The green economy is already here, and it is expected to support a total of 400,000 jobs by the year 2040. That's a big number, but I think we can go even bigger. This is a city where records are made to be broken.
Right now, projections have us reaching 5 million total jobs by the end of 2026, but if I know this team and this city, I know we can defy expectations. So, I am charging us with getting there a year ahead of schedule: 5 million jobs in '25. Five in '25. This will take us, especially our partners in the private sector to make this happen, but I'm confident we can make it there.
More jobs mean more prosperity for every New Yorker, because all New Yorkers deserve to share in our city's success. This is why our administration made a record $6 billion‑plus investment in minority and women‑owned businesses. Michael Garner, job well done.
Funding new programs that ensure that older New Yorkers can work, learn and volunteer in the city they love, and help New Yorkers living with disabilities connect with jobs and opportunities. They have a right to work, and we're going to make sure they can.
We will soon release a $40 million roadmap to make New York a better place for women to work, live and thrive. Our impressive Women Forward Plan will offer important new services and benefits to the women of our city. That will include expanded access to maternal mental health care, improved screening for postpartum depression, and help for women in need, including domestic violence survivors, women in shelters and women leaving incarceration.
Next to public safety, there is no greater anxiety for the average New Yorker than being priced out of their home or their neighborhood. I know it so well, because I've been there. As a young man, many of you hear me talk about growing up in South Jamaica, Queens, my siblings and I carrying that plastic bag full of clothing to school every day, mommy believing that we were going to be displaced without warning and wouldn't have a change of clothing, wanted us to be prepared.
Too often, I wondered if I would come home to a roof over my head or a door slammed in my face. That kind of experience never leaves you. It becomes part of you and it becomes your north star. Every day as mayor, I think about how our city can keep this from happening to other New Yorkers.
We're committed to helping New Yorkers stay in their homes or find a new one if needed, including people like Jenny De Costa from Staten Island. Hurricane Ida wrecked Jenny's apartment in 2021, with water coming all the way up to her bed, flooding her kitchen and creating a serious mold problem. But our city was there for her, helping her find a new place to live in the Castleton affordable housing development through Housing Connect.
Getting more people like Jenny the housing they need is one of the biggest challenges we face going forward. It is no secret that this city and this nation are facing a massive housing crisis. Sixty years of injustice and underdevelopment have brought us to the brink. It is time for a powerful new housing agenda, one that acknowledges the need to build more housing is more important than preserving the old way of doing things.
Over the past year, we have made record‑breaking progress on multiple fronts: the most new affordable homes financed in the city's history, a record. The most New Yorkers connected to affordable homes, a record. The most homes created for New Yorkers who used to be homeless, a record.
We can do it. With voices like Shams DaBaron's and others, we can push forward and we can build more. Now is the time to aim even higher; that is why we have a moonshot goal of building 500,000 housing units over the next decade.
We can do it. And we need everyone to be a part of it, developers: citizens, community boards and our partners in Albany and on the City Council to help get us there. We cannot say no to our neighbors and our fellow New Yorkers. We must be a City of Yes. Yes in my backyard. Yes on my block. Yes in my city.
That is why we introduced our City of Yes for Housing Opportunity plan to build a little more housing in every neighborhood. We're excited for this City Council to say yes to this plan later this year. We can get it done. We can build in the city.
We also need our state legislators to step up and deliver a plan that will change how we build from the ground up. That means incentives for affordable housing development, including a new version of the 421‑A program, and legislation to help convert up to 136 million square feet of unused office space into affordable housing for hardworking New Yorkers.
Governor Hochul was right in her State of the State address, New York City must build, and we need Albany to clear the way for the housing we need now. Let us build. Let us build. Love it. Love it. Love it.
Our next big initiative is 24 in ‘24. In 2024, our housing agencies will advance 24 development projects on public sites to create or preserve over 12,000 units. We will help more people get into homes and stay in their homes once they are there.
Later this year, for the first time in  years, we will reopen the NYCHA Section 8 voucher waitlist, aiming to issue 1,000 vouchers a month. We will also launch a new Tenant Protection Cabinet to help more people stay in the homes they already have, and expand our Homeowner Help Desk pilot, which connects homeowners with resources and counseling to prevent deed theft.
We are going to keep New Yorkers in their homes and on their blocks, but we need Albany's help. We support the governor's efforts to pass legislation that will create a new crime, deed theft, and we must give New York Attorney General Letitia James more power to prosecute deed theft cases.
In addition to fighting deed theft, we want to take on other financial practices that are drowning New Yorkers in unpayable debts. On Monday, we announced that we are canceling over $2 billion in medical debt for up to half a million working‑class New Yorkers. Way to go, Jacques Jiha, our budget director. Think about that: $2 billion dollars of debt relief. Number one cause of bankruptcy is medical debt.
This is a life‑changing policy that will keep money in New Yorkers' pockets. Families should not have to choose between food, heat, rent and paying down their medical debt. Thanks to this administration and RIP Medical Debt, that will not happen to them.
We are partnering this one‑time debt forgiveness with support to stop New Yorkers from getting loaded up with medical debt. We're going to invest in having on‑site financial counselors within hospitals across New York City so that New Yorkers can stay out of medical debt in the first place. That's the goal.
It's all part of this administration's strategy to go to the source of ongoing problems, making changes upstream to create better results downstream. Nowhere is that more important than in our schools.
This past year, we launched New York City Reads, an updated curriculum that teaches our kids the fundamentals of reading, including how to decode words. It used to be called phonics, but today, it is known as the science of reading.
This is more than a curriculum change, this is a reading revolution, a revolution that is helping children like Dallas Buie, a fourth grader at P.S. 325 in East New York. Dallas used to be shy and she struggled to read, but thanks to New York City Reads, her teacher, Ms. Deseree Easton was able to give her the guidance and coaching she needed.
Today, Dallas has a book with her everywhere she goes. Thank you, Dallas, and thank you, Ms. Easton, for being there to help our children succeed. Nothing's more powerful than a teacher that loves you and nurtures you and gives you the support that you deserve.
We're going to help the rest of our students read to succeed. Chancellor Banks really believed in this and he pushed it forward, and New York City Reads is already in over 90 percent of our early childhood system and across nearly half of our K through 5 classes.
And starting this September, this curriculum will be used in every early childhood and elementary school across our city. This month, Governor Hochul announced that she is also bringing the science of reading to every school across the state.
New York City has long been a leader when it comes to world‑class public education, but we want to do more, including making sure our young people can seamlessly transition to college or the job market. We are giving students a head start with our Summer Rising and Summer Youth Employment Programs, and we are equipping them with paid work experiences, career discovery programs and professional mentorships.
Let's continue the success we've seen in our schools so far, with higher reading and math scores outpacing the state, by extending four more years of mayoral accountability. Listen, we gave it to two guys that went to the Boston school system, give it to two guys that went to the public school system. Let us have it. Let us continue our success.
We know academic preparation is essential to our children's future, but so is mental health. We are proud of all we have done to promote mental health in and out of the classroom. Last year, Dr. Vasan and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launched Teenspace to help young people connect with a licensed therapist over phone, video or text. So far, over 1,500 children have used this service, and we will continue to get our students the help they need in a way that they want it.
We also need to protect our students from harm online including the growing dangers presented by social media. Companies like TikTok, YouTube, Facebook are fueling a mental health crisis by designing their platforms with addictive and dangerous features. We cannot stand by and let big tech monetize our children's privacy and jeopardize their mental health.
That's why today, Dr. Ashwin Vasan is issuing a Health Commissioner Advisory, officially designating social media as a public health crisis hazard in New York City. Great job.
We are the first major city in America to take this step and call out the danger of social media like this. Just as the surgeon general did with tobacco and guns, we are treating social media like other public health hazards and it must stop. We must ensure that tech companies take responsibility for their products. You'll be hearing more about this in the future. We are going to correct this crisis that's facing our children.
You know, everybody knows that New York City is the greatest city in the world, but we're also the greenest. Thanks to our transit and our density, our city has a head start on sustainability, and we don't intend to give it up.
This year, we will break ground on a $200 million coastal resiliency project to protect Lower Manhattan from the next Superstorm Sandy, while preserving green space for New Yorkers. We are also protecting our city from flash floods and extreme rainfall by extending water management infrastructure to every corner of the city, including rain gardens, drainage ponds and holding tanks that will keep our streets cleaner, clear and our basements dry.
We have secured $450 million from our federal partners to build a more resilient New York. DM Meera Joshi, she just loves bringing home that money. Great job, Rit Aggarwala and the DEP. This is part of a record $1 billion in federal infrastructure money that will go to build a better city. Great job, team.
We are committed to keeping our city safe and resilient, but also beautiful and enjoyable. From clearing out the illegal vendors who were overcrowding our Brooklyn Bridge to getting building owners to finally take down decades‑old sheds to planting over 60,000 new trees, we are creating a more vibrant, open, and accessible New York City for all to enjoy.
Working with our partners in the City Council, we established Dining Out NYC, creating clear rules so outdoor dining setups work for restaurants, for diners, for neighbors and for our streets. Most importantly, we kept those streets cleaner than ever, with major new initiatives around trash containerization and rat reduction. Great job, Commissioner Tisch.
By moving those mountains of black bags off the sidewalks, our city closed down the all‑you‑can‑eat rat buffet once and for all, and as a result, we are seeing a major reduction in rat complaints across citywide. That's right, the rats hate it. They're moving on and moving out.
But we've got more to do. Soon, we'll be taking our sanitation strategy to the next level by bringing containerization to our high‑density buildings and taking steps to take every single black trash bag off our streets. Every single bag.
Getting outdoor dining done, getting scaffolding down, getting bags off our streets. Listen, this is not just about defeating rats, this is about reimagining the urban experience for all New Yorkers.
We're going to continue to transform our city for the better, including a complete makeover of Kimlau Plaza in Chinatown and a plan to build and refurbish four major skate parks right here in the Bronx and in Brooklyn. A real victory for our young people.
Our entrepreneurial drive and creative spirit have taken us far over the years, especially the last two years, but we have a long way to go in so many ways. Our city is full of questions and contradictions. The safest big city in America, but one where too many people feel vulnerable and afraid. A place where the economy is booming, but too many are not getting their fair share.
These contradictions and so many others are what we are working to change. History shows us what kind of progress is possible when New Yorkers work together; and as the mayor, I never forget that I am part of a much bigger story of revolution and resilience.
This year, we will start planning for a major milestone in history: the 400th anniversary of the founding of New York City. 2025 will be a year to look back on how far we have come in four centuries and celebrate the enduring spirit of our city.
What began four centuries ago as a Dutch trading village on Lenape land has grown into the global capital of politics, commerce and culture, a great city made up of my favorite people on earth: my fellow New Yorkers. Thanks to you and the work we have done together, New York City will remain a place where anyone has the opportunity to make it, even a young man named Eric Adams from South Jamaica, Queens. We got to get your photo, Adrienne.
Down at City Hall, late at night I walk through and I look at the portraits we see of our city, state and former mayors. They may not have foreseen the skyscrapers or the airports, Times Square or Madison Square Garden, jazz, blues or even hip‑hop, or a mayor who looks like me.
But they knew that this was a place to create a new kind of city, a place that could endlessly reinvent itself, getting better each time. A place that welcomes the world and looks to the future, a place where anyone can make it, a business, a dream, a goal, a career, a family, a life.
You can make it anywhere, but making it here, it means something. The last two years have been a time of renewal and resetting. Now, if you look back — look out and see my comptroller earlier, Comptroller Brad Lander — and I say to all of you, we can make this future together. This is the greatest place on earth.
I say it over and over again, there's only two types of Americans: those who live in New York and those who wish they could. We're the lucky ones. Thank you, New York.